Multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday approved a USD 350 million (about Rs 2,900 crore) loan to improve the road connectivity of key economic areas in Maharashtra. The Connecting Economic Clusters for Inclusive Growth in Maharashtra project will further develop the state’s core road network in the Ahmednagar, Hingoli, Jalna, Kohalpur, Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik, Pune, Sangli and Satara districts, ADB said in a statement.
It will help connect underdeveloped rural communities with off-farm opportunities and markets, improve access to health and social services and improve agricultural value chains by reducing transport costs for small and medium-sized enterprises, it said.
It will build on the Maharashtra State Road Improvement Project approved by ADB in April 2020 to upgrade state highways and major district roads, it added.
It further said the project will upgrade at least 319 kilometres (km) of state highways and 149 km of district roads, incorporating climate and disaster-resilient features. It will also construct 5 km of major district roads connecting Nanded and Telangana.
The project will promote gender equality and social inclusion in highway programmes, schools, health, and social services and set up integrated service centres to provide basic sanitation, education, and other services, it said, adding skills training for enterprises led by poor women and disadvantaged groups will be conducted to provide livelihood opportunities.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty